Whether or not you want to include a living trust in your estate plan is a personal decision that comes down to the specific details of your assets and family dynamics. A living trust attorney can help you decide if the trust is the right choice for your situation and provide assistance with creating the trust documents. They can also explain the differences between a living trust and a will, so you have a better understanding of your options.
You will first need to determine what property you want to place into the trust. You may want to include everything you own, or you might only wish to include certain items or sums of money (called bequests) to particular beneficiaries. You can also add instructions about how you would like the trustee of your living trust to manage and distribute the assets. These instructions can be as detailed or general as you wish.
Once you’ve decided what to include in your living trust, you will need to choose whether to create a revocable or irrevocable trust. The revocable living trust is the most common type of living trust and allows you to change your mind at any time or transfer assets in and out of it. An irrevocable living trust, on the other hand, cannot be changed or revoked and will become effective upon your death. It can offer some potential tax benefits, but it is typically more expensive than a revocable living trust.
Next, you will need to determine who will manage and maintain your living trust during your lifetime, and what you will do when you no longer want to manage it yourself. You will need to name a trustee and beneficiaries, and then you will need to fund the trust by transferring your property into it. This can be a complicated process, and a skilled living trust attorney can help ensure that all of your needs are met.
Some people who create a living trust do so in order to avoid probate, which can be a lengthy and costly process. This can be especially true if you have a large amount of money or assets to pass on to your loved ones. A living trust attorney can help you understand the pros and cons of avoiding probate, and they can assist you with drafting the appropriate paperwork to make sure that your estate plan is properly prepared.
A qualified living trust attorney can also advise you about the tax consequences of a living trust and help you select a trustee. They can also help you decide how much to charge your beneficiaries, and they can make sure that any gifts to minors are in compliance with state law. They can also help you draft a pour-over will, which takes any property that wasn’t transferred to your living trust and distributes it according to your state’s laws of intestacy. This is a good option if you have children who are under the age of 18. The cost of working with a qualified living trust attorney can be well worth it, especially if you have unique circumstances that need to be addressed.